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Exercise Better Than Skipping Meals for Weight Loss

If weight loss is your goal, you have a better chance at being successful if you increase your exercise rather than overly restricting food intake.


Have you kicked off the year with a vow to lose excess weight? Hopefully, you have mapped out a plan to both improve your overall diet habits as well as increase your amount of daily physical activity. One strategy that does not work well for long-term weight loss is skipping meals. You may think you are “saving” calories, but in the end, overly restricting food often leads to overeating later in the day.

Scientists at the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine East Midlands (NCSEM_EM) studied a small group of women who were trying to control calories either with exercise or food restriction. The team found that overly cutting calories (such as by skipping meals), the women had an increase in levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and a decrease in a hunger-suppressing hormone peptide YY.

The result? The women at almost a third more at a buffet meal later in the day.

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The same women were studied exercising prior to eating a meal – a moderate-intensity 90 minute treadmill run. Contrary to popular belief, the women did not eat more. In fact, they ate about 320 calories less than when they had previously restricted calorie intake.

"Our findings provide a valuable contribution to the diet and exercise debate. We've shown that exercise does not make you hungrier or encourage you to eat more -- at least not in the hours immediately following it,” says Dr. David Stensel of the research team.

Journal Reference:
NAWAL ALAJMI, DAVID J. STENSEL et al. Appetite and Energy Intake Responses to Acute Energy Deficits in Females versus Males. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2016; 48 (3): 412 DOI:10.1249/MSS.0000000000000793

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

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